Seeking new knowledge on food and health and increasing the quality of life for people worldwide has been the driving force behind the work of the Division of Human Nutrition and Health, part of Wageningen University & Research, for the past 50 years.
What we eat and drink has a major impact on our daily lives, regardless of our age. Many people across the world are eating suboptimal diets, leading not only to malnutrition but also contributing to chronic diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. At the same time, natural resources are becoming more scarce, thus calling for the gradual replacement of animal protein with sustainable vegetable alternatives where possible.
These challenging issues are the focus of the research within the Division of Human Nutrition and Health. Our mission is “To improve global health and well-being through better nutrition”.
The Division consist of five chair groups, each with its own expertise and area of research, yet organized and integrated into one academic unit. We study a wide variety of target groups: from infants and adolescents to centenarians, from the healthy to the chronically ill, and from Dutch to Nepalese and Africans. We look at individuals as well as larger populations, in the lab and in natural habitats, and measure health effects at various levels. The Division has access to modern research facilities, including the Health Research Unit for studies with volunteers, an MRI scanner, and a large laboratory for molecular biological research. We have first-class expertise and facilities in the field of molecular nutrition, which attracts scientists from across Europe to Wageningen for collaborative research. There is also a demand for our tools and questionnaires from many Dutch research centres that perform research on food consumption.
Our BSc and MSc programme in Nutrition and Health is the largest of its kind in Europe. It offers students a diverse curriculum to become the future leaders in the field of nutrition and health. Since the program started 50 years ago, we have trained over 3,000 nutrition experts, who are now working on promoting healthy nutrition all over the world – in academic research, for governments authorities or in the industry.
We work on challenging issues via multidisciplinary teams that include nutritionists, epidemiologists, molecular biologists, sustainability experts and medical doctors. In addition to collaborating internally, we often work with other research groups in and outside of Wageningen University & Research. For example, we work with institutes such as Imperial College London, ETH Zurich, Cornell University, and North-West University. We also maintain close relations with international bodies such as the World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization, and with leading social organisations such as the Health Council of the Netherlands and the Alliantie Voeding in de Zorg, and alliance focused on food and health care.
Over the past half century, the Division of Human Nutrition and Health has steadily built a strong international reputation in nutrition research and education. From this position, we are optimally suited to take on the important future challenges in food and health over the next 50 years.